I’m spending the night in Frankfurt as I’m headed back to the US tomorrow. I decided to stay near the airport to try out the new Hilton, though mein Vater and I decided to go into the city for the afternoon.
We took the train from the airport to the main train station, and it was an ordinary ride. And by “ordinary ride” I mean I was asked for directions by Americans, and then they commented how good my English is.
It literally happens every single time I take a train in Germany. I’m not sure if I just look trustworthy or if my glasses make me look smart (in which case they were the best investment ever — who needs a kollege diplomer?), but it’s a bit ironic since I’m probably the most directionally challenged person on earth. The conversation happened the same way it always does:
“Exxxxcuuuuuussssseeeeee meeeeeeee…. dooooo youuuuuu speaaaaakkkkk Englishhhhhh?”
“Doooo youuuuu knowwww if thissss trainnnn goesssss tooooo theeee Hawpt-banhoffffff?”
“Yes, it does, it’s just a couple of stops.”
“Thankkkk youuuu verrrrry muchhh, yourrr Englishhhh is excellentttt.”
“Thanks. I learned it in the US… which is also where I grew up… and have lived my whole life.”
That usually leads to a bit of embarrassment and a few laughs on both sides.
Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. So my dad and I sat down at a nice German restaurant for dinner (nice German restaurant=they give you the whole animal) which had ample outdoor seating. It was a stunning night and the menu looked great, though interestingly not a single patron in the restaurant was speaking German. So generally it’s not a good sign when there are no locals in the restaurants, but then again my dad is from Frankfurt and was thrilled with the choice, so I wasn’t about to suggest we go elsewhere.
I love to observe people, and after observing these guys for a couple of minutes I was convinced they were pilots for a US airline. From their age to their salt-and-pepper hair (well, what was left of it) to their mustaches to their New Balance tennis shoes to their demeanor, I was positive.
So I told my dad…
Me: Don’t turn around right now, but I bet you those two guys seated there are pilots for a US airline.
Mein Vater: Benny, zis is ridikulous, zhere is no vay you kann know zhis.
Me: No, I guarantee it.
Mein Vater: Vell how vuld ve vind out?
Me: If they start talking about Ronald Reagan or Vietnam in the next 10 minutes will you believe me?
Mein Vater: Vhat?!
Me: Just listen…
So we didn’t intentionally eavesdrop, they were just really loud. So it took seven minutes for them to start talking about Vietnam.
What the hell am I talking about, you ask? I’d say at least once every few trips I randomly end up at a restaurant with a US airline crew. The pilots are especially easy to identify, because for whatever reason they’re always either talking about Ronald Reagan or Vietnam. It’s true. I swear. Every. Single. Time.
Try it sometime…
Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow from the land of soft beds, high speed wifi, and breakfasts that consist of things other than pastries and pretzels (which, to be clear, makes me really, really sad).